Rusty Russell is a Linux kernel hacker living in Australia, working for IBM's Linux Technology Center. He's also a frequent and talented speaker at Linux gatherings. When talking about Rusty in an earlier interview, Andrew Morton summarized, "he's just a really sharp and witty guy - anyone who has attended one of his sessions at a conference will attest to that!"
Well known for his packet filtering efforts, having written both ipchains and netfilter/iptables, he has continued to make an impressive number of contributions to Linux kernel development. A large sampling of his current projects have been merged into the upcoming 2.6 kernel, including futexes, per-cpu counters, hot pluggable CPU support, and a complete rewrite of the in-kernel module loading code.
For a humorous sample of Rusty's wit, one only needs to look to his email signature which reads, "Anyone who quotes me in their sig is an idiot. -- Rusty Russell." Read on for the full interview.
Nick Piggin, a college student living in Canberra Australia, has been working on an anticipatory I/O scheduler for the Linux kernel [story].
When a process reads data from a disk, the default "deadline" I/O scheduler can offer poor performance if a streamed write is happening at the same time. The reason is that many read operations require multiple reads, each reporting a result back before the next can be scheduled. Thus, each of these reads has to wait behind a queue of writes, resulting in the aforementioned performance problem. The anticipatory scheduler solves this problem nicely by pausing for a few milliseconds after each read, "anticipating" the next read request [story].
In this interview, Nick offers much more detail behind the operation of the anticipatory scheduler. His goal is to stablize and tune [story] the new scheduler, aiming utimately for inclusion into the 2.5 development kernel tree as the default Linux I/O scheduler [story]. The latest version of Nick's anticipatory scheduler can be found here in Andrew Morton's [interview] -mm kernel branch.
This week, KernelTrap has been honored by an exclusive interview with the elusive kernel hacker, Renaldo Esp. Living adjacent to the largest contiguous wilderness area on this planet, Renaldo describes himself as a "Wilderness Alaskan".
"Renaldo has had a profound impact upon the face of kernel hacking, though with his typical modesty he expresses his surprise that we've taken notice. He offers insights into a number of current events in the open source world, including with Linux, *BSD and the GNU/Hurd. From questions in licensing, to the BitKeeper drama, to the name GNU/Linux, to the timeless issue of flossing after hacking... It's all here.
Ingo Molnar has been contributing to Linux kernel development since 1995 with an impressive list of accomplishments. Most recently his O(1) scheduler was merged into the 2.5 development kernel, as well as much work to enhance the handling of threads. Other highly visible contributions include software-RAID support and the in-kernel Tux web and FTP servers.
In this interview, Ingo explores how he started working on the Linux kernel noting, "it might sound a bit strange but i installed my first Linux box for the sole purpose of looking at the kernel source." He goes on to explain the concepts behind his new O(1) scheduler, and to describe many of his other kernel efforts. This interview was conducted over several months, and covers a lot of interesting ground...
Con Kolivas, a practicing doctor in Australia, has written a benchmarking tool called ConTest which has proven to be tremendously useful to kernel developers, having been designed to compare the performance of different versions of the Linux kernel. He was kind enough to speak with us, explaining how he got started on this project, what makes his benchmark unique, and how to interpret the resulting output. Comparing the 2.5 development kernel to the 2.4 stable kernel, Con says, "a good 2.5 kernel (and that's not all of them) feels faster than 2.4 in most ways and this bodes well for 2.6." The interesting results from his frequent benchmarks back up this statement.
Con also describes his high performance patchset for the 2.4 stable kernel, currently at version 2.4.19-ck9. This patchset adds a number of performance boosting patches ideal for a desktop environment, such as the O(1) scheduler, kernel preemption, low latency and compressed caching. Read on for the full interview...
KernelTrap has spoken with guru Jordan Hubbard, one of the creators of FreeBSD and currently a manager of Apple's Darwin project. With just a high school education, Jordan has offered some impressive contributions to the world of computing.
In this interview, Jordan talks about his current involvement with Darwin, as well as his past efforts with FreeBSD and 386BSD. He also reflects on his recent decision to step down from the core FreeBSD team. Read on for the full interview.
Kerneltrap has spoken with Linux guru Alan Cox. He is perhaps the second most influential Linux kernel hacker, next only to Linus. In this interview he talks about himself, his history with computers and Linux, working for Red Hat, Marcello and the 2.4 kernel, the DMCA, the future of Linux and much more.
Kerneltrap has spoken with Matthew Dillon, a well-known FreeBSD kernel hacker. He has recently been in the spotlight due to many impressive NFS related bug fixes, as well as fixes to the TCP stack. In this interview he talks about these bug fixes as well as his history with computers, programming and FreeBSD. He also discusses Linux, open source, embedded systems, the Amiga (and his DICE C compiler), and much more.